James Goudie Jr. 1836-1864 Bute Inlet Massacre

James Goudie Jr. 1836-1864

The third child of Catherine and James was another boy born in 1837 and named after his father, James Goudie Jr. came to Victoria in 1849 with his sister Sarah and her husband George McKenzie . At this time Fort Victoria was only six years old.

In 1862, the Bute Inlet Wagon Road Company was granted a charter to build a road from the head of Bute Inlet to the Cariboo gold fields. The chief investor and prime mover of this company was Alfred Waddington, the future superintendent of schools. After many frustrating delays, work began in 1864. On March 16, 1864 William Brewster and a crew of 20 workmen sailed from Victoria on the schooner, F. P. Green, for Bute Inlet. One of the workmen hired by Brewster in Victoria was 27 year old James Goudie.

This history will not deal with the reasons for the following events, but will concern itself with the fate of James Goudie Jr.

The main construction camp was located on the bank of the Homathko River which flows into Bute Inlet. In the early morning of April 30, twelve Chilcotin warriors, led by their chief Klatassine, attacked the main camp. Only the cook was awake. In a matter of minutes nine men were dead. They were shot, stabbed or clubbed. Their bodies stripped and mutilated and then thrown into the river. No trace of their bodies was ever found.

This, however, was not the whole work party. William Brewster and three workers, one of them James Goudie, were in an advanced camp approximately two miles farther up the river and out of earshot. The others were John Clark and Baptiste Demerest. They were clearing a tract over which the road would run.

With the killing at the main camp complete, one of the warrior invaders, Casehen, took five men and set out for the advance camp. A Homathko Indian named Qwhittie or Tenhas George, who was the cook at the advance camp was washing the breakfast dishes when the first shots were fired, James Goudie was the first to he hit. After taking a bullet in the shoulder, he tried to escape down the bill. The second bullet went through his left temple. He died where he fell. Clark W&B the next target. He was shot twice, in the groin and in the thigh, but it was a hatchet smashing his skull that killed him. Baptiste Demereot, upon hearing the first shots, hid behind a tree. When he saw two Indians coming towards him he ran down the hill to the hank of the river and jumped into the surging water. No trace of him was ever found.

Brewster was blazing the trail for the workmen. He was felled by a musket ball to the chest and dispatched by a blow to his head. His own axe was used.

Qwhittie, after witnessing the murder of Goudie and Clark and the apparent escape of Demerest, fled back down river to the main camp. He had no way of knowing what had happened there previously.

Almost three weeks later on May 20, an expedition arrived at the scene. It consisted of a force of forty men led by Mr. Chartres Brew. They found that the main camp had been stripped of everything of value and the equipment destroyed. Brew wasted no time in going to the advanced camp. At the camp Qwhittie was able to point out where he saw Goudie and Clark fall. Their bodies were found nude and mutilated. Further up the trail the body of Brewster was found also nude and mutilated.

The next day, Thomas Elwyn took a detail of a dozen men to bury the bodies. Before the burial, twelve men were sworn in as a jury to officially view the bodies of the three men. They would be required to give evidence, later.

Because of the rocky terrain, logs were cut to frame the bodies and rocks piled on top as a cover. Elvyn read a short burial service.

The foregoing has been gleaned from the testimonies of Qwhittie, the on-site jury and the trial notes of the judge, Mathew Begbie.

On October 26, 1864, in Quesnellmouth, five Indians, Klatassine, Tellot, Tahpith, Piell and Cheesus, were hung for the murders committed on the Homathko River, April 30, 1864.

At the trial, Cheesus admitted firing a shot at Goudie and that he was with the group that killed Brewster. Cusohen, who led the attack on the advanced camp, was never apprehended.

Bute Inlet Massacre Survivor's Account


Bute Inlet

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